Last night, my sweet husband, Bryan, said to me "Babe, I love you . . . But will you please explain all of this tweet-tweet-post-tweet-re-tweet?" I have not laughed that hard in a long time.
Twitter is really foreign to people who dont use it. So, I walked him through my TweetDeck. He's been in sales for YEARS, so he had a hard time understanding why this is important to my business. It's all about CONNECTIONS I told him - about building relationships and keeping up with what's going on in the industry.
Granted, when I started using Twitter a few months ago, I had a hard time understanding exactly HOW to use it. I took the same approach as Bryan - how do I drive sales with this? I posted a couple of Etsy sales I was having or my occasional blog post. But it seemed very ONE way to me. I thought "How do I use this for my business?" It's important to know that Twitter (and alll social media, for that matter) is designed to CONNECT - connect people/people, people/information. The connections made (and relationships built) on Twitter will bring value to your business - as you bring value to others.
It wasn't until I started understanding Twitter's abbreviations/symbols (ie: RT, @) and hashtags (ie: #FF) that I really understood exactly HOW to interact with others. Twitter has a great FAQ page that explains following, mentioning, retweeting, hashtags, etc. But here are a few quick tips for the newbie trying to figure it out:
RT :: Retweet or repost :: LOVE THIS! RT @Username Guess what! @EmilyLey is designing my invitations!
@ :: Precedes every person’s username :: @EmilyLey
# :: Hashtag – This precedes any topic you’d like to “tag” your tweet with. Hashtags categorize tweets so that they are searchable :: Guess what! @Emilyley is designing my wedding invitations! #weddings” – OR - Guess what! @Emilyley is designing my wedding invitations! #TheyreGoingToBeAwesome!
D :: Direct Message – Send someone a private message by typing a “D” before their name. It will go directly to them and wont be listed in your public timeline of tweets :: D @EmilyLey do you offer square, ivory letterpress invitations?
#FF :: Follow Friday – this is a common hashtag. #FF stands for Follow Friday. Post your favorite people to follow on Fridays :: FF @SkyDiver @LaraCase @Mashable
- Post “I’m so hungover” or “Oh no, I left my front door unlocked and we’re halfway to Canada!” – These are not smart or safe things to make public. Keep your reputation (and your valuables) in mind.
- Tweet only to promote yourself. People will lose interest. Interact with others – be interested in what they’re doing, tweeting, etc. Twitter is about building relationships and sharing information.
- Use those crazy “Get one THOUSAND followers now!” services. They require you to follow a ton of other people – and who wants 1,000 random followers who aren’t really CHOOSING to follow you anyways? Eek.
- Thank people for retweeting your posts. Just like you’d thank someone for passing on your information in person. Retweeting is like referring others to you.
- Use the Direct Message feature to have private conversations with friends. Not everything should be aired on Twitter.
- Use free services like Tweetdeck and HootSuite to make Twitter more easy to understand. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing until I started using Tweetdeck.
- Use free services like TwitPic and TinyURL to shorten your URLs (remember, you only have 140 characters to use) and post links to your photos (note :: TweetDeck & HootSuite do this for you if you use their applications).
- Post links to photos, good blog posts, articles, cool websites and your blog in your Tweets. People want to know more about you than just your 140 characters.
- Promote (by "mentioning" their username) people you admire, who give good service and who promote you as well. Twitter is one of the greatest resources for referrals.